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USAF B-1B bombers arrive in Norway

The United States has deployed Rockwell B-1B Lancer bombers to Norway for the first time, US Air Forces Europe (USAFE) announced on 22 February.

An undisclosed number of B-1B aircraft from the 12th Air Force’s 7th Bomb Wing from Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) in Texas joined 200 support personnel at Orland Air Base in Norway.

“Ongoing planned bomber missions showcase the air force’s ability to execute flying missions, sustain readiness, and support our allies and partners regardless of any external challenge. These missions also enhance readiness and provide the training necessary to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe,” USAFE said.

The mission will see the aircraft operate in a variety of areas, ranging from operating in the high north to improving interoperability with allies and partners across the European theatre.

The US Air Force (USAF) fields 62 B-1B Lancer bombers, the first of which entered service in 1985. Now used exclusively in the conventional strike role, the supersonic B-1B can carry up to 48 500 lb Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs and other precision guided weaponry.

As well as being a first for the B-1B fleet, this deployment marks the first time that the USAF has even operated bombers out of Norway. While this is the first time that the US has deployed bombers to Norway, it routinely sends all or part of its bomber triad, which also includes the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress and Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit, to different parts of the world to shore up local alliances and to deter aggression from its adversaries.

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